Assistant Architect by Xi He Qing Ling
Chapter 93: Guests
“Really?” Zhang Siyi said. This isn’t some sort of ploy to get me to do on-site research, is it? (→_→)
Gu Yu looked at him and smiled. He didn’t answer this time.
Whether he planned to take him out for work or simply to eat, it didn’t matter to Zhang Siyi as long as it was time spent with the person he liked. He didn’t bother asking Gu Yu if he was teasing him or not. Rubbing and holding his unwashed hand, Zhang Siyi liked feeling wanted. He breathed a sigh of relief.
After a minute, He Xueying broke the silence: “Sisi, you learned how to drive and earned a license, but you don’t use it?”
Zhang Siyi replied: “All my friends were getting their license during the summer after high school graduation so I figured I would get one too. I didn’t know if I would have the opportunity later since I was going abroad.”
He Xueying questioned: “Why didn’t you drive in England? How did you manage when you needed to shop or go out for fun or when you went traveling?”
Zhang Siyi explained: “I lived near the school so I could walk. There were many local supermarkets as well. If the place we wanted to visit wasn’t within walking distance, there were many buses and trains to use and if we needed to travel further, a classmate would rent a car. Since the Chinese license isn’t valid in the UK, I couldn’t drive anyway. I could have retaken the driving exam, but if needed, there were always classmates that could rent a car so I never felt pressured to get a UK license.”
“Oh.” He Xueying replied and continued: “When I lived in Australia, I couldn’t do anything without a car so I thought Britain was the same. When I returned home, I was already used to driving myself everywhere. What about you? Even though you couldn’t drive while you were away, now that you are back in China, didn’t you want to drive?”
Zhang Siyi sullenly answered: “I wouldn’t mind, but I don’t have a car.”
Tapping on the steering wheel with her finger, He Xueying enthusiastically said: “I have it! If you want to drive again, I will practice with you!”
Zhang Siyi was shocked: “In this car!? A Porsche! I can’t drive this car with my beginner ability! If something happened, even just a scratch, I couldn’t pay you back even if I sold my soul!
He Xueying laughed: “Don’t be silly. It’s just a few million!”
Zhang Siyi: “…”
Zhang Siyi felt that He Xueying was too good for himself. In other words, the economic strength of the two of them was vastly different. In He Xueying eyes, it is trivial, but for Zhang Siyi, it is difficult to bear. Especially as a man, he feels it is his duty to be supportive and as a result, she simply made Zhang Siyi feel stressed.
Zhang Siyi tactfully refused: “Actually, the subway system in Haicheng is very convenient so I don’t really feel the need to drive.”
Leaning on his elbow, Gu Yu had his chin propped up on his hand gently, looking out the window. Zhang Siyi sneaked a peek at Gu Yu and while Gu Yu wasn’t doing anything different, somehow, Zhang Siyi felt that he looked lonely.
Repeating something Gu Yu said to him, he paused then followed up his statement with: “Besides, driving is not very environmentally friendly.”
Startled, Gu Yu quickly turned to look at Zhang Siyi in the eye. Zhang smiled at him then feeling a little embarrassed turned away after a few seconds.
Listening to Zhang Siyi speak, He Xueying was very clear about his intentions, so she didn’t ask about it further.
Unexpectedly, Gu Yu commented: “It is a good idea to be proficient at driving not only for trips home to Ningcheng, but also when I take you to other places. I can’t be the only one driving all the time. Since you have a license, I’ll take you to practice later.”
…… Not just back to Ningcheng? And take me somewhere else? (o////o)
Rejoicing at the prospects, Zhang Siyi ears turned red. As if he was hypnotized by Gu Yu, he obediently replied: “Okay”
He Xueying: “…” (=_=) …. It is because of your Boss.
A few minutes later, the car stopped at the location that the GPS brought them too. As it was quite remote, neither were there dining areas nearby nor commercial shops. The place was like an extremely ordinary residential area with farm stands and vendors on the roadside.
“Is this it? I didn’t drive to the wrong spot, did I?” He Xueying was suspicious of Gu Yu.
Gu Yu: “Yes this is it. Up ahead is a school and beyond that is a vacant lot. The place is near there. We can park over here then walk.”
After listening to Gu Yu’s instructions, He Xueying slowly came to a stop and parked her car. Now that they were getting out of the car, everyone was skeptical. The vicinity they drove through wasn’t the cleanliest and the many dilapidated store fronts didn’t do anything to whet their appetites.
Was Gu Yu really trying to teach them something out of a literary movie? What can they say about a roadside stall? ‘It’s true! Cheap really is delicious.’ They would rather be caught dead then to admit it.
He Chengtian and He Xueying aren’t as simple as Zhang Siyi. While Zhang Siyi can easily be content with eating a spicy rice bowl from a vendor, the brother and sister on the other hand, have experienced gourmet delicacies, and have refined their preferences. It’s not possible for them to think about satisfying their tastes from a roadside stall. In particular, He Chengtian, after being debased, wanted to know what surprise Gu Yu had install for them. Looking at the run-down area, He Chengtian could only felt like Gu Yu was mocking them.
“Lead the way!” He Chengtian wrapped his scarf and carefully bypassed a few vendors selling vegetables. He couldn’t help but complain: “This place is really dirty.”
Continuing to walk, Gu Yu didn’t say anything else. He led the group through a residential area without markings and pulled out his phone to dial a number: “Old Chiang, we are almost there…. Well, Yes. A total of five people…… It’s ok, take your time.…We will sit down….”
Wondering if they were going to someone’s house to eat, Gu Yu continued to guide the group through the residential area until they came to the back of a partially demolished broken factory. …… What the hell! There are restaurants open in the vicinity of a condemned building? How can this be the best place in Haicheng to eat?
Grabbing her brother’s wrist, Gu Yao asked in disbelief: “Brother, is it really here?”
Gu Yu acknowledged her with a “hmm” then patted her back and naturally held her hand protectively as a caring older brother would do.
Walking behind them, Zhang Siyi saw their interaction and suddenly became very envious. He looked at his own left hand and wished he could hold his hand with Gu Yu’s again.
Zhang Siyi thoughts were interrupted when He Chengtian put his arm around Zhang Siyi shoulders and pulled him closer. He whispered to Zhang Siyi: “Hey. You seem to have a very good relationship with Gu Yu.”
Zhang Siyi: “……”
Squeezing Zhang Siyi even tighter in an uncomfortable way and gnashing his teeth, He Chengtian said: ”You didn’t want to change jobs because of him, right? Did he threaten you? Or do you like his sister? Are you hoping to ger her by being close to her brother?”
Zhang Siyi: “…………” This is nothing!? (=_=)
Zhang Siyi: “………” ? (=_=)
Zhang Siyi: “…” What’s all this about!? (=_=)
Although Gu Yu was one important part of his decision, it’s not something he can say. Zhang Siyi took a deep breath and plaintively said: “Honestly, what I told you previously is the truth. I have nothing to do with his sister!”
He Chengtian squinted at him: “You really aren’t interested?”
Zhang Siyi raised his hands in surrender: “I’m not! I swear!”
He Chengtian raised his eyebrows: “His sister is so cute how can you not like her?”
Maybe a normal straight man would think so, but no one could guess that the person he likes is not the sister, but Gu Yu himself. The irony of the situation amused Zhang Siyi. Without hesitation, he replied with a wry smile: “She is pretty cute, but she’s isn’t my type.”
Hearing Zhang Siyi straightforward remarks, He Chengtian suddenly released him and thought Zhang Siyi was once again his childhood friend he always had. He reached out a ruffled up his hair like one would do to a younger brother. He laughed out loud: “Okay…”
As it so happened, at that moment, Gu Yu had turned to look at Zhang Siyi. Witnessing the interactions between the two, Gu Yu wasn’t expecting to see He Chengtian in such a good mood. Gu Yu furrowed his brow. If looks could kill, two cold, sharp daggers would have stabbed He Chengtian in the chest.
He Chengtian instinctively felt a coldness around him like someone was watching him with malicious intent. With a stiff smile, he slowly released Zhang Siyi…. What’s going on? Why did I feel so threatened? (O..O)
After walking for another ten minutes, they finally arrived at the place. Inspecting the scene before them, they were very surprised at the idyllic Chinese courtyard located in the middle of nowhere.
Along a six-meter-long fenced wall, there was a thatched rustic door in the middle with two orange lanterns hanging on either side. A poetic phrase was written on a plaque beside the door welcoming guests.
Surveying the surroundings, Zhang Siyi noticed the courtyard was built between the gaps of he broken factory buildings. The simple exterior wall was about three-stories high and was crafted to look like the natural surrounding environment.
Like a rare flower blooming at the site of an ancient castle in ruins, the courtyard was a stark contrast to the dirty areas with dilapidated buildings and broken windows that they walked through.
Gu Yao carefully stared at the words then turned her head to asked her brother: “Did you write this?”
“Let’s go inside.” Gu Yu didn’t answer his sister question and instead, pulled on the rope for the bell that was hanging beside the door. With a “jingle” that gently sounded, Gu Yu pushed open the door and led everyone down a cobblestone path.
Under the illumination of the lanterns, everyone saw many withered vines, both long and short, growing from the top of the wall downwards, in clumps. There were additional planters inside the courtyard. When spring time comes, sprouts will give life to the seemingly dead looking garden.
As they approached the main entrance, the door automatically opened from the inside. A stoutly built, bald-headed young man greeted them and smiled: “You made it!”
Gu Yu smiled: “Old Chiang, I’ve come again to disturb you.”
The young man known as “Old Chiang” said: “I’m glad you brought guests with you. Please come in.”